• EMERGENCY ALERTSWhy You Received a National Emergency Alert on Your Phone — and What the Cold War Has to Do with It

    By Tanner Stening

    The U.S. wireless providers that participated in the federal alert program sent alerts to their customers on Wednesday around 2:18 p.m. Eastern Time. The Emergency Alert System and the more recent Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) has its roots in the early days of the Cold War, when there was a concern that the president would need a means to directly communicate to the American people in the event of an imminent Soviet attack on the United States involving nuclear weapons. 

  • EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM Nationwide Test of Wireless Emergency Alert System Could Test People’s Patience – or Help Rebuild Public Trust in the System

    By Elizabeth Ellcessor and Hamilton Bean

    The Wireless Emergency Alert system is scheduled to have its third nationwide test on Oct. 4, 2023. Similar tests in 2018 and 2021 caused a degree of public confusion and resistance. We believe that concerns about previous tests raise two questions: Is public trust in emergency alerting eroding? And how might the upcoming test rebuild it?

  • DISASTER DETECTIONRadar Can Help Fight Wildfires, Identify Flash-Flood Risks

    Radar imaging technology can provide valuable insight into the location and extent of wildfires in remote Arctic and Subarctic forests, like those currently burning in Canada. Capable of penetrating clouds and smoke, and imaging day and night, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) can play a critical role in wildfire monitoring.

  • FLASH FLOODSForecasting Flash Floods an Hour in Advance

    Korea has recently seen a surge in localized torrential rain and floods due to global warming. Frequent flash floods are hard to forecast and, when forecast, the accuracy is low. Forecasting of localized flash floods, based on rainfall radar, to commence soon.

  • DISASTER ALERTTesting Next Generation Flood and Wildfire Alerting Technology

    DHS S&T conducted a demonstration of new technology that integrates unattended flood and wildfire sensors with Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) with Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN). These systems have the potential to provide life-saving critical emergency alerts to people in affected areas.

  • TSUNAMI EARLY WARNINGSCreating a Tsunami Early Warning System Using Artificial Intelligence

    Tsunamis are incredibly destructive waves that can destroy coastal infrastructure and cause loss of life. Early warnings for such natural disasters are difficult because the risk of a tsunami is highly dependent on the features of the underwater earthquake that triggers it.

  • EARTHQUKESUsing GSI Sensor Technology to Prediction Earthquakes

    Can nuclear physics improve the prediction of earthquakes? As part of a new project which aims to provide the foundation for a reliable early warning system for earthquakes in Europe, researchers are building a network of sensors measuring radon levels and other parameters in selected water sources in Europe might be able to detect earthquakes several days in advance.

  • PLANETARY SECURITYHigh-Fidelity Simulation Offers Insight into 2013 Chelyabinsk Meteor

    On the morning of Feb. 15, 2013, a small asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, sending a loud shockwave and sonic boom across the region, damaging buildings and leaving around 1,200 people injured. Meteoric events are natural disasters and, just like any other natural disaster, we can do more to be prepared. “They are not high-probability events, but we shouldn’t dismiss them as science fiction either,” says one scientist.

  • EARTHQUAKESThe Most Advanced Bay Area Earthquake Simulations to Be Publicly Available

    Accurately modeling the effects of an earthquake is possible, but it requires intricate physics-based models that can only be run on advanced supercomputers. The data from such models are invaluable for the earthquake research community and engineers seeking to build and retrofit earthquake-resilient homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Supercomputer-generated simulations will soon be accessible on an open-access website.

  • STORM PREDICTIONNext-Generation Storm Forecasting Project Aims to Save Lives

    Severe storms have greatly impacted the Southeastern United States over the years. A key to dealing with storms and minimizing their severity is early forecasting and detection.

  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALSTrain Cars Which Derailed in Ohio Were Labeled Non-Hazardous

    By John McCracken

    Nearly two weeks after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in rural Ohio, questions still linger about the lasting effects of the incident and the speed at which residents were returned to their homes. What we do know is that the train cars were marked as non-hazardous, and thus officials weren’t notified that the train would be crossing through the state.

  • WILDFIRESStoking Wildfire Resilience in Oregon

    Monitoring allows all the moving pieces of an emergency response to launch into action and for decision makers to have as much time as possible to assess and mitigate the threat. This is certainly true when it comes to wildfires. S&T is piloting smoke detection sensors ahead of the 2023 wildfire season.

  • FLOOD TRACKINGFloodNet Tracking System Set for Expansion Across All Five NYC Boroughs

    FloodNet, the first-ever New York City flood-monitoring network, has received $7.2 million in city funding that will greatly increase the number of monitored flood-prone locations from 31 to 500 over the next five years. The network expansion is slated to begin in February.

  • COASTAL CHALLENGESNew Generator Rolls into Ocean Energy

    Tsunamis, hurricanes, and maritime weather are monitored using sensors and other devices on platforms in the ocean to help keep coastal communities safe—until the batteries on these platforms run out of juice. The nanogenerator harnesses the energy of the ocean to power sensors and more.

  • FLOODSLow-Cost Sensor Records the Level of Rivers

    Researchers have developed a method that allows the water level of rivers to be monitored around the clock. The cost-effective sensor is for instance suitable for area-wide flood warning systems.